The last day in the Alps and now it felt a bit sad that the adventure would soon end. The weather was brilliant again though and the start down to Lago di Ledro in the morning was nice. The problem with taking this obvious and popular road between Riva del Garda and Storo between the Lago di Garda and Lago d’Idro is that road bicyclists (again) are left out of the planning. Actually I am usually happy about that planners are not really thinking about us road bicyclists at all as thinking on us would usually mean trying to make us use paths intended for walkers and slow local cyclists and recreation paths. We road cyclist use the roads as cars do and for the same purpose and it is (apart from some good examples to the contrary, like railway lines transformed to good and wide bicycle paths) not suitable for road cyclists to use these paths (at least not outside cities).
The problem here is that there is only one road here and it goes through a long tunnel near Riva del Garda and they have made this tunnel forbidden for cyclists. There used to be a very nice road (the Pregasina road), but it was closed when I was here looking for it an earlier year, which I did not know at the time and went up through the tunnel which I then did not see any forbidden for cyclists sign at, but it is a horrible tunnel cycling uphill through it as the ventilation is poor and there can be many cars. Now since 2006 (if I remember what I read) they have “sort of” re-opened the Pregasina road that was destroyed by a landslide previously. The only problem is that is is merely a foot path for part of the way and apparently because locals do not want the road restored. I still managed to get down there on my road bike another year, but this is a thing you only do once really.
So I took the forbidden tunnel as there is no choice but to break the law here – no idea why it should be forbidden to cyclists as tunnels like this are not regularly forbidden to cyclists even if more and more particularly in fascist Italy is being forbidden to cyclists (maybe some fascist European Union regulation as forbidding cyclists on roads seem to spread like a virus), but at least the tunnel is endurable on the way down.
Above uis the view when coming down from the tunnel over Riva del Garda and Lago di Garda. Thereafter I went via some zig-zagging roads to cross over the plain down here to the other side at Bolognano (126m) where I stopped by the Coop (small) supermarket to get a coca-cola, sandwich and yoghurt. (Coop are usually quite bad grocery stores in Italy, not sure why. They are bad in Sweden too though.) They also had a bankomat close by and I tend to wait until almost too late to get more money (these bankomats are not all around in the Alps).
Time to do some climbing and now it was already quite hot. Luckily the climb to Passo di Santa Barbara (1168m) is mostly through the forest and there it had not yet gotten so hot. The road up here is also mostly quite good. I know this is a popular road for road cyclists and one which I had planned to visit so many times, but now finally could do it (I had to calculate on the time needed carefully against the train schedule from Rovereto and still I overestimated my speed, as usual).
I started out not too fast to let the sandwich get down, but after the first two hairpins up here a fast guy passed me by and I decided to hang on as I needed to get up fast. He was a bit too good for me, so eventually I had to let him go ahead. We passed by another guy on a road bicycle and it was as if he was standing still, so we had a decent speed.
After a myriad of hairpins he got out of sight, but just soon thereafter he had stopped to fill up water and I passed him by. He soon caught up with me and went ahead in a speed I could not follow, but I decided to keep as good speed as I possibly could up to the pass height to see if I would see him again up there. He never said a word and did not look too tired. I did not see him up there and maybe he went up another side road near the top as I think I ought to have seen him – damned ;-). There were some other road cyclist up by the pass and first I thought he was one of them, but he was not.
My iPhone got a bit sweaty as you can see in the photos here. One of the workers in the photo here took the two photos above – he just came up and asked if I would like him to take a photo (that wouldn’t happen at home … ). Nice people!
So now I felt a bit relaxed as I got up here on ca. one hour for this +1000m climb (maybe it was just under one hour, I cannot remember right now for sure). Still I had not calculated very well I later realised, so I was lucky I had been this quick up here I later learned.
I descended and took a shortcut through the centre of Ronzo (989m) and then climbed up to nearby Passo Bordala (1252m), which I had also planned many times to make in combination with the Santa Barbara climb. It is quite nice here and even more so if one goes to the less known pass along a very minor road leaving Passo Bordala on the north side, called Sella di Malga Somator or Bocca di Somator (1279m).
Passo Bordala in the other direction here.
Here is the view toward Passo Bordala from the Malga Somator pass.
The road over Malga Somator is also very hard to find any solid info about on the Internet or elsewhere. This road is actually fully paved, even if there no such indication to be found anywhere. This is also obviously the hardest climb up to Passo Bordala as there are some really steep sections on concrete pavement lower down here. The views are also superior here and the road is sweeter.
Here I am looking north up the main Adige/Etsch valley to Bolzano. The road actually continues to climb a bit on the other side here and also goes a bit up and down. It seem to reach ca. 1320m before it descends.
Here (around San Bernardo at ca. 1240m) are great views just before the steeper descent starts.
This is from Corniano (1000m) where the road is concrete with an unusual structure on the concrete. It is very nice around here. The local farmer shortly by incident blocked my way down here and the road is not wide. It would be a great climb up here, but it is also hot around here.
Eventually one comes down to the main road (825m) over Monte Fae’ near Nomesino which is not very much wider. I realised I was short on time now if I wanted to catch the train I hoped to take up to Toblach/Dobbiaco, so I could not consult the map, but memory told me that it would be quicker climb over the Monte Fae’ even if it would mean more slow climbing first. It is an obvious pass, but no pass name here and the height is ca. 925m.
Here is the sign just below the pass on the north side, but no height is given. The road over Monte Fae’ is quite a nice one and it gets much wider lower down after Lenzima. I went really fast down to Rovereto (180m) now and I was looking desperately trying to figure out just where in the big town the railway went through and where the central might be. It turned out to be nearly impossible to see the railway on the descent, but I guessed after a while where it ought to be and just followed the main road straight into town. Just when I thought I was lost there were a sign for the stazione and it was very close to where I came and I could not have gotten faster here.
I managed to buy a ticket for myself and the bicycle from a machine at the station and then it was 10 minutes left before the train should go and that was just enough time to buy something to drink and an ice cream. It was very hot down here. Now I was in time, but of course we are in Italy and the trains here are not quite that “digital” as me. I had to wait 20 minutes before the train eventually came, but was at least on the way now and should be able to get to Cortina not too late in the evening.
On the way up to Cortina I had to change train in Franzensfeste/Fortezza. Nothing there to buy to drink while waiting. The train to Toblach/Dobbiaco is very slow and there were so many stations along the way that I had forgotten about since my last train ride up here. Eventually I arrived there and jumped off the train a bit tired of the long ride here. I wanted to see a café or at least buy a coca-cola, but found no suitable place near the train station – I went up to the main road and back again and the up toward Misurina, but still no good place to stop by. (I guess I should have gone into the upper centre of Toblach/Dobbiaco.) Toblach/Dobbiaco (1221m) is also a pass – conquered by train this time!
The road up to Misurina is nice and the temperature up here was good again, so I eventually got in good mood again. I also knew there was a good water tap in Misurina. I had actually planned to take the shortest road to Cortina over the Passo di Cimabanche/Sórabànces/Im Gemärk (1533m), but I heard from Enrico that he would be a bit late from work this day, so no hurry for me to get back early. I missed not having remembered to take any good photos from Misurina upon my previous visits there and thought the weather would be perfect today so surely I could take this way around instead.
However, I would have wanted to go up the Tre Cime/Drei Zinnen road again as I had thought I could possibly do if there would be time for it on the last day, but that would really make me a bit too late and it felt a bit unnecessary to challenge getting back in time for packing and dinner this evening.
Now I got a lot of photos up here and it felt nice that the trip ended in such a nice weather with such views.
I went very slowly back over Passo Tre Croci/Són Zuógo (1804m) that I had climbed from the other side at the start a month earlier. It is a very easy and short climb if coming from the Misurinapass (1757m), where there is only a short descent to Bivio Dogana Vecchia (1647m).
The road down to Cortina has really poor asphalt surface in some places and I had to be careful down here. It is easy when one start to relax and think one is home safe, that one becomes a bit too careless.
Many photos here from Misurina.
Down in Cortina (I stopped just as I entered the city for a last photo), I wanted to find a place to wash the bicycle at and went around there for a long time asking people about where to find a car wash station. Eventually I found a place some people had suggested at the lower parts, but even though they were still there, they were apparently closing down for the day and no automatic washing places can be found in Cortina, so I had to wash it by hand as well as I could later when getting back to the house.
I went into town and had a last coffee and ice cream at an expensive café in the centre, then got back to Enrico, who still had not arrived, but his son was there opening for me and Enrico came soon thereafter.
We had fine dinner and packed everything down for the long car ride the next day to Namur in Belgium. We had to get up very early to be in Namur at 6 pm!